Former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick has made headlines yet again, this time for accusing his adoptive parents of “perpetuating racism.” In an interview that aired Thursday, Kaepernick discussed his new graphic novel, “Change the Game,” which details his journey of coming to terms with his racial identity while growing up in a White family.
The biracial quarterback recounted several instances of disagreements with his parents that he attributed to racism, describing his upbringing as “problematic.” Kaepernick stated, “I know my parents loved me. But there were still very problematic things that I went through.”
In the novel, Kaepernick illustrated a specific example of a fight he had with his parents during high school over his hairstyle. The former football player was inspired to braid his hair in cornrows like his hero, NBA star Allen Iverson, but received pushback from his parents. His mom warned him that his hair was “not professional” and he “looked like a little thug.”
These interactions as a teenager helped shape Kaepernick’s decisions as an adult to embrace his ethnicity. “Those become spaces where it’s like, ‘Okay, how do I navigate the situation now?’ But it also has informed why I have my hair long today,” Kaepernick said in the interview.
Kaepernick drew national attention when he started protesting the national anthem, kneeling on the field during NFL games to protest police brutality and racism.
He has since become a social justice activist, partnering with Netflix for a docudrama series based on his life and with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for its non-dairy flavor “Change the Whirled.” He has also made endorsement deals with Nike and other major companies over the years.
However, Kaepernick’s activism organization has recently been silent on its ties to Ben & Jerry’s after reports of migrant child labor were made public. The controversial former NBA player has come to Kaepernick’s defense, stating that he had the “most freedom” he ever felt after his anthem protests.
In light of Kaepernick’s accusations against his adoptive parents, it is important to continue addressing the racism that is being perpetuated, both in our homes and in our society as a whole. Kaepernick’s story serves as a reminder that the fight against racism is far from over.